Kirk Cousins takes field with Falcons, moving past injury, draft shocker

Healing from a season-ending injury and Achilles surgery, Kirk Cousins has lost interest in the draft night conversation centered around the Falcons selected quarterback Michael Penix Jr. with the eighth overall pick.

“Always going to be competition in this league, and you’ve always got to go out and earn it,” Cousins said after team workouts Tuesday. “I’m going to control what I can control and also understand there’s a lot that you don’t control. I learned a long time ago that you’ve got to focus on what you can control.”

Falcons head coach Raheem Morris projected Cousins would be ready for training camp based on assessment made by the Atlanta medical team and training staff.

Cousins, who turns 36 in August, had surgery Nov. 1 for a torn Achilles tendon. He shared rehab routines and recovery and healing tips with former NFC North rival Aaron Rodgers, who was weeks ahead of Cousins’ timeline working back from the same injury.

When Cousins first met with media after signing a four-year deal to leave the Vikings, he intimated discussions with the Falcons’ training staff took place before he signed a mere two hours into NFL free agency on March 13. The league launched a tampering investigation that is ongoing, but Cousins dismissed any suggestions of wrongdoing as “innocent” on Tuesday.

Cousins, injured in Week 8 last season, was on the field with teammates on Tuesday and said he felt better than expected.

“It’s coming along really well. Today I felt the best I’ve felt,” he said. “I wasn’t sure when I stood here in March — and I had just gotten here — how much I’d be able to do at practice, but today I felt I was able to do everything I would have normally done. That’s big for that stuff I talked about initially: building continuity, getting shared history together … excited to see how fast we can heal from here.”

An interview on the “Bussin’ With the Boys” podcast earlier Tuesday framed the Penix draft conundrum a different way, touching on whether he has any animosity for the rookie.

“I don’t think there can be; I don’t think it’s helpful,” Cousins said in the interview. “We’re trying to win a Super Bowl and it’s hard enough. Let’s all be on the same page and let’s try to go win a Super Bowl.”

Cousins spent six seasons with the Vikings and played for Washington the first six years of his career. The former Michigan State quarterback has some idea what Penix is experiencing. He was drafted to be a backup to No. 2 overall pick Robert Griffin III, four rounds later in the same draft.

He reportedly spurned Minnesota’s bid to bring him back in free agency because he learned the Vikings were keen on drafting one of the six quarterbacks selected in the first round last month. The draft surprise came when Atlanta invested its top pick on a quarterback.

Cousins replayed his perspective of the draft-day conversation he had with the Falcons, who called when they were on the clock to inform him Penix was their pick.

“I think you’re reminded again that there are things you control and there’s a lot of things you don’t control,” Cousins told the “Bussin’ With the Boys” podcast. “So let’s deal in reality and recognize that fact and then be a steward not an owner.”